Passenger numbers at Southampton International Airport continue to edge down as the ongoing recession impacts on the demand for air travel.
At a meeting of the Southampton Airport Consultative Committee at Eastleigh Civic offices today, David Lees the recently appointed managing director of the BAA owned airport will say traveller numbers have dropped by up to 10% since the end of the boom in 2007 as the global travel industry struggles with the effects of the recession which has seen many airlines and tour operators forced into administration.
August is usually the busiest month for passenger flights and this August there were 183,500 passengers using Southampton Airport – down from a high of 204,359 in August 2007.
The early part of 2010 also saw disruption to flight schedules due to the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud and strike action.
However despite these problems total airport movements have increased by 4.7% over the period suggesting a shift towards more cargo traffic using the airport and next summer will see operator Thomas Cook joining First Choice and Thomson in offering direct flights to Majorca for the summer season.
Although there has been an increase in traffic movements, Southampton Airport will also report there has been a 16% decrease in the number of noise complaints from local households compared to 2009.
Southampton Airport, which is sited completely within the Borough of Eastleigh, is a major employer providing 1200 jobs while 12 operators including budget airline Flybe fly to almost 50 destinations.
The meeting which starts at 2pm provides an opportunity for councillors and MPs from surrounding areas and parishes to get together.
For one Winchester councillor, Frank Pearson, the meeting is sure to be tinged with nostalgia as the venue is directly opposite the former North End County Secondary school building (now Hampshire Fire Brigade Headquarters) where he spent many happy years as a geography teacher – as Eastleigh News readers of a certain age will recall…!
Photo: © BAA Limited